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Festival encourages diversity

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From lines of Iranian vendors and loud Persian music, to dozens of picnickers and overcrowded dance floors, Pierce College was transformed into a hub of Iranian culture.

Royal Time TVs third annual Persian festival was on Oct. 19 at Pierce College to honor the ancient Persian holiday called Mehregan.

“I normally set my store up at raves. This is a first for me. It’s different, but I like the music and am having a good time,” Daniel Guiguys, vendor at the festival and Owner of Sfynx Apparel, said.

The festival’s main goals were to help educate the local community and younger generation about Iranian culture, and to encourage more diversity.

“This is my second time here, but I come just to support my culture,” said Farnaz Shafie, Iranian Festival attendee and Student at California State University, Northridge. “If someone who wasn’t familiar with the culture were to come, they wouldn’t learn much about this holiday, or more about our culture, you would just see it.”

Despite their efforts, many of the festival attendees were of Iranian decent, but have expressed their desire for more diversity to expose their culture to others.

“I really like the music and food, but if you don’t speak the language it’s hard to enjoy. I don’t even know the purpose of the festival. I feel as if it could be more organized,” Santa Monica College student Daniel Stump said.

But Royal Time’s efforts did not go unnoticed. Of the many Iranian Vendors spread out on The Mall, a handful was more geared towards the younger generation and diverse cultures.

One vendor, Siamak Afshiar, Owner of Transforming Life Sober Living, set up his informational booth at the festival to reach out to the young adults and college students to provide information about drug abuse, addiction and his rehabilitation program.

“We came here because it was on a college campus, and we want to reach out to young adults and teach them preventative measures in regards to drugs,” Afshiar said.